While a paper trail of concern about potential settling leads back to early 2009, even before the Millennium Tower was ready for occupancy, most residents of the building knew nothing about any issue with the foundation until they were summoned in early May to a private meeting in a lounge on the tower’s club level.
Identification was checked at the door. Residents were told that what they were to hear must be kept a secret. A lawyer introduced a structural engineer who delivered, as Buttery and others recall, a simple statement that startled the packed room:
“The Millennium building is too heavy for its foundation.”
Not only had the tower settled by far more than the four to six inches originally forecast for the life of the building but, “most importantly,” recalled Jerry Dodson, a retired patent lawyer and a vocal critic of the tower’s builders, the engineer said “it wasn’t stopping.”